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In 1987, the Brundtland Report was published and the term sustainable development  was coined. One of the key concepts of the Brundtland report has been to give priority to the needs of the world’s poor. However, 20 years after its publication, 1.1 billion people worldwide are still lacking the basic access to electricity and 87 percent live in rural areas. At Schneider Electric, sustainability is at the heart of our company strategy and we strive to solve the global energy dilemma as we believe that access to energy is a basic human right.

Yet today’s energy demands on the planet are enormous with global primary energy demand expected to increase 32 percent by 2040. How do we meet the increased energy demand while undertaking the challenge of bringing clean energy to everyone? How can we balance this energy paradox responsibly? Our future depends on how we meet the energy challenge and how we create more efficient, more sustainable and more innovative solutions to ensure that Life is On™ everywhere.

2 degrees Celsius

This is the limit in global temperature rise if we are to avoid irreversible damage to our planet and thus our society. To keep global temperatures from rising, greenhouse gas emissions need to fall as much as 70% around the world by 2050 and to zero by the end of this century. Yet, greenhouse gas emissions will rise with the increase in energy demand while a decrease by 41% is required for the world to achieve the environmental targets, outlined at Paris Climate Conference (COP21). We are committed to solving this challenge and at COP21 in December 2015 we announced to become a carbon neutral company by 2030 with 10 commitments to support our sustainability objectives.

Our continuous efforts in sustainability haven’t gone unnoticed and we have been named Industry Leader in the DJSI World and Europe Index for the 4th consecutive year. The index is the result of annual evaluation of companies’ sustainability practices in which over 3,400 listed companies around the world are analyzed, based on questions focusing on economic, environmental and social factors. While we are honoured by this recognition, climate change remains a global challenge and a challenge for everyone.

Tackling the energy challenge

Energy efficiency targets can only be met through the right energy mix with a focus on increasing the share of renewable energy and innovative solutions. Solar energy combined with our innovative solar and energy storage solutions provide a reliable, powerful and environmentally safe alternative. With more than 15 years of experience in solar and energy storage management, we help companies minimize their carbon footprint and meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

For more information, view Strategy & Sustainability Highlights 2015 – 2016.

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Living at the edge of the grid, a distant community in Western Australia experienced severe power quality and uptime issues. Bush fire, a natural disaster common in the area knocked down the poles and overhead lines, with a high cost for the local utility to restore and maintain. Thomson Solar and Schneider Electric partnered to create a solution by powering the community with a standalone off-grid system. This solution is replicable to all small and mid-size dwellings living at the edge of the grid suffering from power-quality issues and where utilities must invest a large amount to maintain the commitment of reliable power for a small customer base.

As the homeowners were electing not to reconnect to the local utility grid, the system had to meet certain operating standards. The goal was to generate electricity on-site independently of the grid, using storage to assist in operating large three-phase loads while also providing power at night and during cloudy conditions. The system was designed to provide grid autonomy, yet with no undue inconvenience for the homeowners.

Schneider Electric provided a solution at a fraction of the cost of replacing power poles and overhead lines. The entire system is self-contained, and was deployed in a short time frame to restore power to the site. It shows that solar energy can be more cost-effective. This, in short, is the promise of standalone energy systems.

Read our full case study to learn more about this project, and why the Conext XW inverter charger was chosen for this project.


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No decision has more impact on the system cost and performance than the choice of inverters as this dictates design constraints for much of the balance of system. Today, system designers have more options than ever when architecting solar systems. While this may seem like a great advantage, these options necessitate an ever-growing number of decision points in the design process.

Before selecting brand or model the designer must first choose the macro level class of inverters, central or three phase string inverters. Until recently, the normalized price of string inverters (as measured in $/W) was much higher than central inverters, making the decision to use central inverters for utility-scale quite straightforward. That unit price gap has greatly diminished, resulting in a heightened debate on the relative merits of central and string inverters, often without empirical data to support the arguments.

The jury is still out on which is the so-called “best solution” and likely for good reason as the overall system size has such a significant impact on the relevant answer. In my article for Renewable Energy World, I analyzed the relative merits of central and string inverters in a typical system in North America.

The analysis is limited to the relative costs of central and string inverters for utility-scale projects in North America in three areas: CAPEX, inverter service life and true cost of service.

Read article on or view in-depth version with further analysis of utility-scale system performance requirements and operating efficiency here.

Rueil-Malmaison (France), May 23, 2017Neoen, the premier French independent power producer and Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, have signed a 750 MW Conext SmartGenTM multi-year framework agreement on three continents.  The scope includes: conversion stations composed of 1500V inverters, medium voltage switchgear, transformers, and complete monitoring and control system, as well as lifecycle maintenance services.

Neoen and Schneider Electric welcome this collaboration as a major joint initiative in providing more affordable and reliable clean energy.

Neoen decided to enter a framework agreement to secure electrical design, launch grid impact studies at an early stage in the development process, and leverage volumes.  “We selected Schneider Electric after a global competitive process based on the best LCOE[1].  Having worked with Schneider Electric on the Cestas 300 MW project we were pleased with Schneider Electrics’ level of involvement, responsive service team, and track record of their high performing operating plant solutions,” explained Xavier Barbaro, CEO of Neoen.

“With a global footprint and long-term commitment in Solar, Schneider Electric delivers projects and long-term service contracts for solar power plants worldwide in an efficient way, which will continue to benefit international solar businesses such as Neoen. We decided to set-up a dedicated service team to support Neoen and their EPC partners to increase reactivity and support in this very dynamic market,” said Robert Immele, Solar Business CEO at Schneider Electric.

[1] Levelized Cost Of Energy

About Neoen

Founded in 2008, Neoen is an independent producer of electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind and biomass) and is the first private French company to attain 1000 MW of installed power. Neoen operates in France, Australia, El Salvador, Mexico, Zambia, Mozambique, Jordan, Jamaica, Portugal and Ireland. Neoen’s main shareholders are Impala SAS (owned by Jacques Veyrat), the fund Capénergie II (managed by Omnes Capital) and Bpifrance. Neoen aims to attain at least 3,000 MW by 2020.

See for details

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€25 billion in FY2016, our 144,000 employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.

Hashtags:  #Solar #ConextSmartGen


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